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Flyers Survive in Overtime Against Penguins, 6-5

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia, PA – Mike Rathje scored in overtime and Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg each had four-point nights as the Philadelphia Flyers survived the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wachovia Center, 6-5.

The Flyers, who led at one point 5-1, took advantage of a tripping call to Sergei Gonchar in the extra session. A wrist shot by Rathje found the back of the net at 3:17 as the big defenseman tallied his first goal as a Flyer.

Philadelphia is now an even 2-2 on the season, while the Penguins remain winless at 0-1-4.

The Flyers led 2-1 entering the second period, before a pair of goals by Gagne, both set up by Forsberg, increased the lead to 4-1.

First, Forsberg skated the puck towards the slot and at the last second sent a pass to Gagne to his right. Gagne lifted the puck in from a difficult angle at 1:47 for his fifth goal of the season.

Just 2:30 later, Gagne tallied his sixth of the season from almost the same spot on a give-and-go with Forsberg. After receiving the puck, Forsberg came to a quick stop and once again found Gagne to his right.

Gagne's four points is a new career high for the six-year pro.

"Lots of them are going in right now, it's amazing that [Forsberg] finds me everywhere on the ice," said Gagne. "It's always fun when you put numbers on the board, but at the end, the most important thing is to win the game."

"I think the whole line played well tonight. But Simon, he's not only a goal scorer. He plays all over the ice and that's what I like about him," said Forsberg. "He plays 60 minutes of defense too, so it's a pleasure playing with him."

The Flyers got on the board early with a power play goal, as Eric Desjardins fluttered one towards the net that was deflected right to Keith Primeau at the side of the net. Primeau swiped it in for his first of the season.

The Flyers were just 1-for-19 entering the game with a man advantage, and finished 2-for-8.

Philadelphia increased its lead to 2-0, as a couple players whacked at a loose puck in the crease. Sidney Crosby knocked Forsberg into goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, and Joni Pitkanen was there to flip in the puck at 16:35.

The Penguins got one back with just 2.5 seconds left in the period, when former Flyer John LeClair tipped in a wrist shot from the point by Ric Jackman.

Derian Hatcher, playing in his first game with Philadelphia after serving a three-game suspension to start the season, made it 5-1 shorthanded. Gagne raced to a puck in the Pittsburgh zone, fed Hatcher in the slot, and Hatcher tried to get it back to Gagne and instead it went off of the skate of Jackman and across the goal line at 10:44.

The Penguins came storming back, however, and tied the game before the end of regulation. Ryan Malone and Crosby scored before the end of the second, and then Dick Tarnstrom registered a power play goal at 5:20 of the third period.

Maxime Talbot caught Antero Niittymaki sleeping when he lifted a puck from behind the red line all the way down the other end of the ice and in at 11:52. Niittymaki admitted he was watching the video replay of a fancy move by Forsberg on arenavision.

"I didn't think it was a huge momentum shift, they just scored some goals and all of a sudden we were looking at 5-4, then a 5-5 game and a battle for our lives," said Primeau.

The Flyers remain home on Saturday night to face the New York Islanders at 7:00 p.m.

Dennis Seidenberg returned to the Flyers lineup, but Turner Stevenson remained out. … Branko Radivojevic played in the game, while Patrick Sharp was a healthy scratch. … Chris Therien missed his second straight game with back spasms. … The Flyers wore their orange third jerseys for first of 15 times this season at home.
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